Esteemed colleagues, members and friends,
It is with a great sense of acomplishment that I share with you my humble enterprise. I have just launched a website called Sistema Sputnik, that aims at teaching basic electronics to teenagers and grown ups who wish to take it up as a hobby. Picaxe Microcontrollers are at the heart of the system itself.
A little explanation is in order. This hobby -satisfying as it is- is very accesible to anyone in the US, Europe and Australia. Those countries have (mostly) english speaking citizens, dealers of hardware, Fedex (overnight) and affordable prices. Now, in the rest of the world, where those things are not the norm, eager kids have a hard time trying to buy components, trying to learn the hobby, and have their questions answered when they hit a wall.
In countries such as Argentina, it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy gadgets from abroad, mostly due to ever-tightening customs regulations aimed at protecting the local enterprise. Misplaced regulations mostly. Add to that that we have no real dealers locally, all methods of shipping take close to 15 days (if the products passes Customs, that is) and no prices in dollars or Euros are affordable for most of us.
The solution to these problems that I will try to provide is this: Purchase and import only the Picaxe chip from abroad, while I have my flag ship Protoboard produced locally. All passive components are purchased locally and I put everything together. That takes care of shipping, customs and high prices. The other side of it, that I believe is the most important, is offering lots and lots of FREE resources. I have spent most of the summer putting together interesting, attractive and easy to follow pdf documents explaining in plain Spanish how to accomplish different tasks with the hardware we manufacture and sell. Some of the documents tackle simple subjects (such as "¿Qué es un Picaxe?" ("What is a Picaxe?")). Some are more advanced ("Cómo Controlar un Servo con tu Proto18x" ("How to Control a Servo with your Protoboard"). You can also find videos (some will look familiar to people here) and code snippets.
The prices are affordable for the local market and I am also giving lifetime warranty to everything we build.
Sistema Sputnik will aim to supply knowledge and hardware to the local community, hoping to make this hobby available to everyone and not just a select few.
Now that the introduction has been made, I feel I owe an apology to those of you who do not speak Spanish. You see, the site is only available in Spanish. However, those of you who wish to lend a hand can always give our Facebook Site a Like It nod.
Hope you enjoy the site. Wish me luck,